PEORIA – A Peoria couple have introduced a new kind of portrait studio to the mall.
LaToya and Johnny Jorden opened It’s a Vibe Selfie Studio at Northwoods Mall on April 1. The studio has 16 booths and 25 different backgrounds.
“You walk in, you get a ring light, you get a Bluetooth switcher for your phone. And then you get one hour of unlimited access to all sets and photo booths. It’s like a self-serve photoshoot, with lighting,” Johnny Jorden said.
It’s a great resource not only for amateur photographers, but also for professionals.
“It’s an opportunity for photographers who don’t have studios,” he said. “They can come and use ours with their customers, as well as content creators, which is starting to be really important. other people. We even had a guy who was supposed to come in and do a music video next week.
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Both Jorden and his wife quit their full-time jobs – union electrician and nurse respectively – to become entrepreneurs. The couple also own Premier Events and Rentals, which provides party lighting, furniture and accessories, but It’s a Vibe is their first brick-and-mortar business.
“I wanted to do something that was unique to us”
The Jordens were first introduced to the concept of the selfie studio while visiting major cities.
“There are franchises out there, and we kind of thought about going that route, but then we wanted to do something that was uniquely our own,” Johnny Jorden said.
Their independence has allowed them to work with local artists to create murals and incorporate community themes. Being self-employed would also allow them to turn their business into a franchise in the future, which they hope to do.
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The couple signed a lease in January for space on the mall’s lower level formerly occupied by clothing store Justice and spent several months renovating it, mostly by themselves. They built partitions along two walls of the shop and decorated each small room with a different theme. Backdrops range from flat designs to detailed rooms with furniture and accessories.
“Some of them are simple, abstract things; some will take you to different places, like outer space, and it’s an airplane scene,” Jorden said while walking around the room. “We get all of that from art, culture, trends, things like that.”
From a Slinky room to a 360 degree booth
Each of the couple’s four children participated in the design of a piece.
“My daughter actually invented this one – it’s the Slinky Room,” Jorden said, standing next to a room with colorful Slinkies hanging from the ceiling to the floor. “I have a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old and they love anime cartoons, so they made the anime room. The youngest, he wanted a basketball room.
The basketball hoop hangs at the perfect height for a 5 year old.
“People come in here and make the pictures look like they’re soaking,” Jorden said.
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Two of the backdrops were created by local artists. Rue Taylor Norton created a mural with the words “Peoria Vibes” in swirling graffiti-style letters, and Kevin Bradford painted a girl taking a selfie on the back wall of the space. And there’s also a 360-degree cabin, a circular platform fitted with a tripod that swivels all around.
“You put your phone in there and it adjusts to different heights, and you spin it around and it takes video that spins. We actually rent them out for weddings,” he said.
It was fun to see how customers use the backdrops, Jorden said.
“Some people are really creative. One of the rooms I didn’t expect to remove so much was this,” he said, standing next to a utility room with a washing machine and rolling laundry basket. “But people get really good shots in there. Like we had a 14 year old girl sitting in the basket, so that’s cool.
The Jordens have many plans for the future. The reserve will soon become a party space, and eventually they hope to have vendors to recommend to provide food and drink. They can even organize events, like candle castings.
In order to keep people coming back, some kiosks will be changed every few months. A room has recently been decorated with a spring theme, and behind it a stage to celebrate new graduates is being prepared.
It’s a Vibe is open during mall hours, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. A one-hour photoshoot is $25 for adults, $15 for kids 2-17, and free for kids under 2. For more information, visit itsavibepeoria.com.
Leslie Renken can be reached at 309-370-5087 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.